REFUSING to allow extra parking spaces to be added to Oxford’s hospital sites is ‘crackers’ and is an extra ‘aggravation’ to patients needing treatment, a councillor has said.
Rodney Rose, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council, was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer of the liver and has been attending regular chemotherapy sessions at the Churchill.
Patients have routinely complained of long delays getting to hospital as well as waits of an hour or more for a car parking space.
Mr Rose said: “People who are unwell should not be having to put up with this.
“If they were talking about adding an eight-storey car park I could understand but to stop any spaces being added at all is just crackers.
“Even if you doubled the number of spaces it won’t make much impact on traffic - a few hundred extra cars will not make much of a difference to roads carrying 30,000 vehicles a day.”
In the face of complaints about car parking capacity Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has stated it is working on a ‘masterplan’ to ease the problem and has encouraged people to use park and ride services.
Mr Rose said: “I would suggest they get themselves on a course of chemo and see how it debilitates and completely upsets your life. Then imagine getting out of a warm car, walking across to the park and ride and then worrying about being late.
“For me it is an hour and a half-s drive to get to the hospital each time and then trying to find a space to park throws you totally off.
“The prospect of making that journey using the park and ride in my condition is not very enticing, and it’s an aggravation that a lot of patients really don’t need.”
He added that in the past he had missed an appointment at the Churchill after getting stuck in Headley Way.
Over the past month more than 200 people have logged their journey times from North Oxfordshire to the John Radcliffe Hospital in an effort, spearheaded by Banbury MP Victoria Prentis, to get health bosses to take journey times fully into account. The average journey time recorded has been 90 minutes, with up to 60 minutes’ wait for parking.
Campaigners in the Banbury area were incredulous yesterday on hearing that Oxford City Council would not support the creation of new spaces.
Posting on the ‘Save Our Horton’ Facebook page, Claire Ryman said: “Surely if people can get into a parking space it will only ease congestion instead of the roads leading into the hospital being congested with traffic jams.”
Eleanor Wilson added: “So, they reduce services at the Horton, sending more traffic through to Oxford - then won’t let us park in order to get to our appointments, so cause a backlog on the roads. Makes perfect sense.”
Advice on OUH’s website states: “Parking space is very limited and there is no on-street parking nearby. If you have no alternative, please allow one hour to find a space.”
City council planning lead Alex Hollingsworth said: “The council’s planning policies for the hospital sites in Headington aim to limit the amount of parking on site, because additional parking will generate more traffic on local streets that are already congested.”